General Question

LuckyGuy's avatar

Can humans safely eat animal feed corn when cooked and prepared properly?

Asked by LuckyGuy (34128points) January 1st, 2017

I was given about 100 pounds of cleaned, whole kernel, animal feed corn as a gift from someone who hunts on my property. It came from the local farm store and was quite inexpensive. I was reading the label (Protein 6.5% min, Crude Fat 2.5% min, Crude Fiber 3.0% max) and it occurred to me that this could be an excellent source of human food. Am I missing something?
How would you prepare a side dish of this corn? Wash and boil it? Put it in a rice cooker? Cook on stove?
The particular bags were made by Cargill Animal Nutrition. I can’t find anything that mentions problems with humans eating animal feed corn.
I am willing to try it if someone has a cooking or preparation suggestion.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

45 Answers

jca's avatar

I don’t see why not, but I’d probably first contact the manufacturer and ask.

Next I’d try some in a slow cooker (just maybe a cup) and see how it tastes and how your body handles it.

I’d be cautious eating too much, one for the digestive issues it might cause and two for the weight gain it might cause (if it’s designed to fatten cows, it will fatten humans, too).

Cruiser's avatar

Corn bread baby! Yum!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@jca I figure I’d only eat it as a small side dish like I would regular corn – a serving. this would not be a major source of my calorie intake. Using the USDA nutritional site I compared the nutritional info on the feed corn label with brown rice and noticed they were similar. I will try cooking some in my rice cooker after washing it a few times in hot water..

@Cruiser. That is a great idea but it is a lot of work. I tried grinding a few kernel in y mortar and pestile and it was almost impossible. I am soaking some now to see if they soften up.

Coloma's avatar

Sure, I was eating my horses feed as a kid, the original granola. haha
C.O.B. corn, oats and barley sweetened with molasses.
If it has been stored properly and is dry and free of mold it will be fine.
I’d imagine you could sift it to remove any dust or possible bug parts and then grind it into cornmeal or rinse and soak it and make hominy grits or something similar but why not just toss it out for the wild life this winter?

You could grind it down even more into a scratch mixture consistency and sprinkle it around for the birds and squirrels.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

The sweet corn, which we love to eat every summer, is harvested when the kernels are soft and ideal for eating. Animal feed corn, also called “field corn,” is hard, dry, and tasteless. Your cooked result might be perfectly fine for you to consume, but it’ll likely be bland and unappetizing (hint – field corn is used to make ethanol!). @Coloma has a good idea about adding molasses or some other flavoring.

Coloma's avatar

@Love_my_doggie haha, goood point, well that settles it, @LuckyGuy needs to build a still and start cookin’ up some corn mash moonshine.

@LuckyGuy here ya go! An engineering project right up your alley methinks! :-)

www.clawhammersupply.com/blogs/moonshine-still-blog/11454449-corn-whiskey-recipe

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Humans cannot fully digest corn but pellagra sure beats starvation. Most feed corn is GMO so depending what side of the fence in that debate you are on factors in as well.
I tried some corn from grandads field once. Never. Again.

That corn would make awesome bait for critters that are nutritious and tasty like deer or squirrels.

Cruiser's avatar

@LuckyGuy Back when I used to brew home brew beer I used a hand crank meat grinder that I took off the handle and was able to connect the shaft to my Skill high speed drill. I could mill 20 lbs of barley in minutes.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Cruiser That’s how the guy I bought my barley from did it too.

kritiper's avatar

Feed corn is usually chopped up whole, cob, husk, and stalk, allowed to ferment in silage pits, then fed to cattle/cows as feed. They love it! If what you have is corn that is separated from the cob , husk, etc., then there is no reason I can think of why you couldn’t eat it, like canned whole corn. But I don’t know what the consistency is of the corn you have, how dry it is, etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sure. I wouldn’t think it would taste as good, but sure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Cooking suggestions? Boil it and add sugar!

Darth_Algar's avatar

I doubt there’s any reason why it should be particularly unsafe. Probably the biggest issue is that it might not be very palatable.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I prefer the traditional preparation. Pour it in a trough, hold my hands behind my back and commence to eatin’.

jca's avatar

I think a question to ask yourself is how badly do you need to supplement your diet with something that has little nutritional value, may not taste very good without some other additions (like sugar), and may be labor intensive to prepare and cook. It may be a better alternative to give this corn to the animals outside and eat something really good for you at home.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Pretty sure he doesn’t need to supplement his diet at all. Besides, how many of us supplement our diets with utterly useless stuff anyway?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I think anything worthwhile will require grinding. Get a grinder or find someone with a grinder.

From there I see whiskey, grits, cornbread, and masa for tortillas and tamales as fun projects.

anniereborn's avatar

I have done this, on accident. I cooked it up the traditional boiling way. It tasted very bland. It was pretty hard. And my GI tract did not enjoy it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am supplementing my diet with a slice of useless lemon cake and a yuge glass of milk.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Useless but probably delicious!

Dutchess_III's avatar

It was OK. It was really the milk I was after, but for some reason I can’t just drink milk by itself.

JLeslie's avatar

Can you use it as kindling?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I ran 2 cups in the rice cooker with 4 cups of water. The corn kernel sweeled to at least twice their original size. some burst open. The result was a sticky, starchy collection of kernels. I ate a few and as predicted they were bland,
I am going to try soaking them over night. and then putting them in the rice cooker with a lot more water. 3 water to 1 corn and see what happens.
As @Call_Me_Jay suggested will try a grinder on the mush and see what I get.
This sure is fun!

JLeslie's avatar

Make tortillas out of the mush maybe? Then you can put tasty stuff inside. Or, maybe layer the mush with taco meat and cheese and the mush might be like a tamal.

jonsblond's avatar

As a side dish it would be pretty gross. I would grind it and use it for corn flour.

I found this written by a farmer:
Generally I advise against the use of feed grains for human consumption. But if you’re determined to do this then inquire if it’s rated for use with poultry and/or dairy animals. The mycotoxin limits for poultry and dairy as the same limits for humans. Corn intended for use for deer, beef animals, and other uses may have higher allowable mycotoxin limits. If the source isn’t sure then I’d pass on that grain. In the United States mycotoxins are rarely acutely toxic. Their dangers are more subtle and may not be known for years, but they are there.

Feed grain is often dirtier than grains meant for human consumption, but dirty is something one can usually clean up at home. Fungal contaminations on the other hand cannot. The grain either has less than the allowable mycotoxin limit or it does not.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Great information. GA.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@jonsblond Great info. i went to the Cargill site and confirmed the corn is for animal feed and is already cleaned. That means it is safe.
I rinsed it in a colander several times and caught the water in a glass bowl. There was very little (actually, no) dirt. The water was a little cloudy after the first rinse but it was clear after that.
I soaked the kernels overnight and put them in the rice cooker this morning using a ratio of 3 water to 1 corn.
I will grind the mush later today when I get back home from the office.

I am weighing the kernels at each step so I will have good data after this experiment. I am guessing in a total disaster, the corn mush can be mixed with some cooking oil and salt to keep someone alive for a long time. Molasses can be added to give it an “exotic” sweet and salty taste.
And as @ARE_you_kidding_me suggested it can also be used for bait for certain animals.

Strauss's avatar

For grinding the dry kernels, you may want to see if you can borrow buy or improvise a stone grinder. From what I’ve read and heard, that seems to be the way to go for corn meal for masa, tortillas and the like.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy What, no bottles of Moonshine for all of us? lol

kritiper's avatar

There is no proper way to cook feed corn. It is served straight out of the pit and directly into the feed trough. It’s sour smell smells rather good in a way, so if I were to eat some, I’d eat it straight. Cow style.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ And break your teeth!

kritiper's avatar

Break your teeth??? It’s feed corn, not pop corn. Feed corn is harvested in the field when it is green. It is not dried. All parts completely chopped on the spot, then it is put in the silo or silage pit where it ferments, as I said earlier. It is soft and chewable, like moist hay.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Feed corn is harvested in the field when it is green. It is not dried. All parts completely chopped on the spot

That does not describe the bag of corn in question.

jonsblond's avatar

I lived on a farm that grew field corn and soy beans for five years and I can say with certainty that field corn is not harvested green. Propane is needed for the driers and that costs money. Farmers wait until the corn is as dry as possible before harvesting and drying.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I did the experiment. One cup dry, out of the feed bag, corn – 130 grams.
Washed and soaked over night – it swelled to 180 grams.
Cooked in rice cooker with 3 cups of water.
Ran the mix through the food grinder on the KitchenAid mixer.
Added water to make a paste. Result 250 grams with about 50 grams wasted and stuck in mechanism.
Ground again and added a little water (est 30 ml) to make dough ball.
Ground again and added more water again est. 30ml) to make a workable mush.
Broke off about ¼ of it to make a ball about 5 cm in diameter.
Flattened it out on baking sheet to make a 9” disc.
Fried in frying pan with canola oil.

It looked and had the texture of a typical tortilla! But it was tasteless. I added no spices.
I ate it and did not get sick.
I figure a tortilla is about 1 ounce. So one of these corn feed bags that sell for ~$8 can make at least 1600 tortillas! THAT is cheap eats! Except for the electricity to grind it, and all the water needed to wash it.

kritiper's avatar

@jonsblond Not field corn, FEED corn. It is cut whole, WHEN STILL GREEN, chopped into small pieces in it’s entirety, then taken and placed in a concrete pit, covered with tarps and allowed to sour/ferment. Then taken out, as needed, and fed to cattle/cows.
And if it’s in a bag, dried with no husk/stalk material at all, it may be seed for feed corn. (No mention was made as to the consistency of the bag’s contents.)
When I was a kid and saw corn for feed corn seed, it had a pink substance on it (or appeared to have) that might have been ammonium nitrate to help fertilize the corn as it sprouts. So I would be very suspicious of this corn’s acceptability as a human foodstuff.

kritiper's avatar

@LuckyGuy It might taste better if you use dried sweet corn.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@kritiper Oh, I’m sure It would taste better using sweet corn. But the point of the exercise was eating the animal feed corn I was given. It was for animal feed, not planting. The corn used for planting is chemically treated and has a colored coating on it. Definitely not for consumption!
I will give this corn to the birds and critters a little at a time.

Strauss's avatar

@Lucky_Guy I don’t know how you feel about hunting; it can be used by hunters to bait deer stands.

JLeslie's avatar

^^His land is chock full of deer, and people hunt on his property.

kritiper's avatar

It sounds as though this particular type of feed corn would be used to feed chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, etc. Should be OK to eat, but possibly tasteless, as @LuckyGuy mentioned.

Coloma's avatar

@kritiper Yes, it the dried, cracked or whole corn I think. I’d just toss it out for the wildlife.

kritiper's avatar

Yeah, chickens like their corn cracked. Ducks and pheasants eat it whole, methinks. Turkeys too, probably.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther